Carolina and Malawi librarians deepen partnership

June 27, 2023

The University Libraries sponsored librarian Wongani Jumbo’s attendance of the Medical Library Association meeting. It was also an opportunity to connect with Carolina librarians who support his work as part of UNC Project-Malawi.

3 librarians pose for a photo with a life size MLA letters installation at the MLA conference

This spring, the University Libraries sponsored UNC Project-Malawi Librarian Wongani Jumbo’s attendance of the Medical Library Association meeting in Detroit. Jumbo’s trip is the most recent milestone in an ongoing partnership between Carolina’s Health Sciences Library and UNC Project-Malawi. 

UNC Project-Malawi is a research, care and training program established by the Malawi Ministry of Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Started in 1999, it is the University’s longest-running global health site. 

The Health Sciences Library provides support for the institution’s library, where Jumbo is the sole librarian. 

Jumbo has regular virtual meetings with experts from Carolina’s Health Sciences Library (HSL) to ensure he can provide the best possible service. They provide guidance on how best to meet the needs of the medical professionals, students and community members Jumbo serves. 

Community Outreach and Global Health Librarian Hannah Burrows meets with Jumbo monthly. Burrows helps Jumbo develop his skills as a librarian and expand his library’s collections. University Libraries staff have also facilitated classes for researchers, students, and other patrons of the Malawi library. 

Because so many people rely on the library for their work, ensuring Jumbo has the tools and knowledge he needs to serve them is essential. 

“Wongani does great work in supporting all of the researchers at UNC Project-Malawi and the work they’re doing,” says Burrows. “The importance of libraries in research can sometimes be missed, and I think that without the library, the project wouldn’t have quite the foothold that it does today.” 

The MLA conference allowed Jumbo to meet other global health librarians and deepen his relationship with Carolina partners. 

“One of the most meaningful parts of this work is getting to really know people and learning from their perspectives,” says Burrows. “It was so cool to finally meet Wongani in person after working together all this time.